September 7, 2018
Training camp and preseason are officially over and now the action starts for real as the BCHL regular season fires up off this weekend, the 57th in league history.
As usual there are plenty of storylines heading into the season, after a summer that saw a great deal of change in the league including a new commissioner in Chris Hebb and several coaches changes which are noted below.
There are lots of familiar faces too, and they’ll be counted on to provide leadership and major ice time for their respective clubs.
So again there will be no shortage of talking points. Here are just a few of them:
Key returning players:
- Ty Westgard – Surrey Eagles:
Westgard is the top scorer among all returning players. The Surrey native finished tied for second in league scoring with 70 points last year and led his hometown team to the second round of the BCHL playoffs.
- Alex Newhook – Victoria Grizzlies:
Newhook finished eighth in scoring last season and took home the Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy as the BCHL’s top rookie. The 17-year-old has been ranked as high as top-5 in many 2019 NHL Draft projections.
- Ben Berard – Powell River Kings:
The 19-year-old from Duncan, B.C. returns to a Kings team that he led in scoring last season with with 67 points, good enough for a tie for seventh in the league. Berard also tied for the team lead with 20 points in the Kings run to the third round of the Fred Page Cup playoffs.
- Lucas Sowder – Wenatchee Wild:
Sowder enters his third season in Wenatchee on a high after putting up 60 points in 48 games on last year’s league-champion Wild team. He also finished tied for fourth in playoff scoring. After being injured in the Doyle Cup series against the Spruce Grove Saints, the Minnesota State commit was able to return to the lineup for the RBC Cup and scored the overtime-winning goal in Wenatchee’s tournament opener against the Chilliwack Chiefs.
- Austin Roden – Merritt Centennials:
Roden was outstanding for the Centennials after being acquired from the Nanaimo Clippers midseason. The Victoria native finished the season with the second-best save percentage in the BCHL at .931 and the fifth-best goals-against average at 2.40 with two shutouts.
- Carter Berger – Victoria Grizzlies
The dynamic blueliner is back for a third BCHL season and hitting double digits in goals and reaching 34 points, tripling his production from his rookie campaign in 2016-17. It was an exciting offseason for Berger who was invited to attend Anaheim Ducks development camp.